“The Lord spoke to me today!” Did He speak to you? What did He sound like? What did He say? He spoke to me today from the Word of God, commonly known as the Bible. He has given His people over 700,000 words recorded and transmitted over thousands of years. God’s people who are in a favorable relation with Him because of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit will believe their God and endeavor to live according to His Words. It is not possible to know how many are actually believers out of the large number of those professing faith (John 8:42-47).
Israel described God’s people in the Old Testament. The church refers to God’s people in the New Testament. After Israel settled in the land God had given them they constantly wandered away from God’s Word. They did not find contentment from the Word of God. The sin nature will always try to deceive people to wander away from God. The Old Testament congregation turned away from the true God and committed spiritual adultery by worshipping false gods. The New Testament congregation has flagrantly sinned against God by departing from God’s Word. The Prophets Joel (2:13), Hosea (14:1-2), Isaiah (55:7), Jeremiah (4:1), and Zechariah (1:3) warned God’s people to “Return to the Lord.”
Based on 30 plus years of experience with evangelical churches, I doubt if many of them believe they need to “return to the Lord.” It comes as no surprise because the congregation in the Old Testament saw no need to return to the Lord. They loved to worship God so much that they conjured up all kinds of gods to worship. They did all kinds of things in worship that God had not commanded, so He warned them that He desired “mercy not sacrifice and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). However, they continued to rebel against God and refused to listen to His Word. Then God exercised His judgment against them in 722 B.C. because they refused to return to the Lord. The church today needs to hear Hosea’s message to return to the Lord.
The prophet Hosea spoke to God’s people with clarity and zeal. Hosea’s prophetic message to Old Testament and New Testament congregations is “you have broken God’s covenant; return to the Lord.” God’s people want to hear a word from the Lord and Hosea gives them God’s Word by tracing the historical events and spiritual condition of Israel prior to the fall of the northern kingdom in 722 B.C. Finally, God spoke to His people. “O Israel, return to the Lord your God, For you have stumbled because of your iniquity; Take words with you and return to the Lord” (Hosea 14:1). The Word of God speaks to every believer: Return to the Lord.